Before Hollywood

From Shadow Play to the Silver Screen

By Paul Clee
Clarion Books, Hardcover, 9780618445332, 192pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2005

List Price: $22.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.
Shop Local
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.


Illustrated with black-and-white archival prints, drawings, and photographs From the simple camera obscura of the 1500s to the 17th century’s giant magic lanterns to the early films of Thomas Edison and the Lumicre brothers in the late 1800s, here is an intriguing story of invention and showmanship. Many of the techniques adopted by Hollywood were worked out by tinkerers, lanternists, and magicians in front of shocked and amazed audiences long before the first flickering black-and-white film was ever shown. This fascinating book explains how today’s movies—as well as photographs, special effects, and animation—came to be.

Peppered with first-hand accounts and newspaper reports, excerpts from the notes of early inventors and filmmakers, and descriptions and diagrams of detailed optical gadgets, Before Hollywood provides a window into the world of entertainment before movies were invented. It offers an illustrated tour of the beginnings of technologies that we take for granted today. Sidebars, afterword, timeline, endnotes, bibliography, Internet resources, and index.

About the Author

Paul Clee has been a college instructor of English, humanities, and photography. His book Photography and the Making of the American West (Linnet Books/Shoe String Press) was named a 2004 Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. He lives in Eureka, California.

Praise For Before Hollywood

"Lively chronicle of...creative ferment...this entertaining historical panorama will absorb both casual viewers and serious young students." KIRKUS, starred Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"...A rich lode of end materials for further and reproductions abound." THE BULLETIN Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"The history of visual meticulously detailed, painstakingly documented, and clearly laid out chronologically." THE HORN BOOK Horn Book

Indie Bookstore Finder
EBbooks and EReaders
Find great gifts: Signed books
Link to IndieBound